Hegemony is the method of gaining social, political, and economic control by means of coercion rather than force. More specifically, hegemony exemplifies how one can assert dominance through the use of ideologies by making people believe that the current way society is run is the only way to run society. In order for hegemony to be successful, people must believe that they have a choice and that if they work hard they will have the opportunity to move up in that structure of society.
In the hit TV show Dance Moms, a hegemonistic approach is used by the dance teacher, Ms. Abby, as a means to gain power over the girls and their mothers. Ms. Abby introduces the pyramid – a ranking system reordered every week based on the girls’ performance scores, attitudes during their practices and their mother’s behavior over the week. The pyramid alone causes a lot of drama on the show. Parent’s want to see their children on the top of the pyramid. The girls are constantly pitted against each other to please their parents and teacher by landing at the top of the pyramid. When the pyramid was first implemented into their dance team, the mothers and girls were immediately against it. However it was not long before the team falls into the hegemony and it begins to control how the girls felt about themselves and how satisfied the mothers were with their daughter’s weekly performance.
I think it is very sad that this type of control is used on children at such a young age. We see this to some aspect in team sports when some children are labeled as team captain or get more playing time than others. However this pyramid method is a little extreme in my perspective and I wonder if it is doing more harm than good. Sure it makes the children want to work harder so that they can land at the top of the pyramid, but it also adds a significant amount of stress and competition within their team that might be too much for girls at this age.
If you were a coach, would you ever use this type of pyramid as an incentive to make your players work harder? What benefits or drawbacks do you believe come with this type of system?